As well as practicing and thinking about Yoga, I spend a lot of time on the Internet. (That, and some bad physical habits, is the legacy of 10 years with an IT company). “You do you” is a phrase I see a lot in responses to people who are fretting in some way about Yoga. Maybe it’s their first class, and they’re worried everyone is going to be looking at them. “You do you”. Maybe they’re worried that their poses don’t look like everyone else. “You do you”. Maybe they want to go deeper into a particular pose they’ve seen others do beautifully, but their body just isn’t co-operating. “You do you”.
It may seem like a pretty glib response but it’s actually a point of view that as a beginner, I’ve found to be extremely helpful. My body, my experience, and my approach to Yoga may have a lot in common with yours; we may even be identical in many ways, but when I practice, I’m working with my body and my experience, and no-one else’s.
This is something I’ve been trying to bear in mind every time I get on the mat. This week I’ve been “doing me” by not practicing physically at all: no classes, and no home practice either. Instead, I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the poses I love and some of the ones I really, really, REALLY dislike. Puppy dog, humble warrior and certain variations of wide-legged forward fold are two that are firmly in the “love” category, while half-tortoise and the classic wide-legged forward fold are definitely on the “strongly dislike” list.
I’ve been trying to identify why some poses are more appealing than others – what is it exactly that makes them work for me? And conversely, why is it that some days I’d be very happy if I never did half-tortoise (or certain other poses) ever again? Is it because – as some people argue – that the pose challenges me emotionally as much as it does physically, and I’m not ready to face that challenge? Or is it simply that my body isn’t built for certain thing?
Next week I’m going to be looking at wide-legged forward fold in a little bit more detail and sharing some of my ideas. I haven’t found any definitive answers to my questions – but even though I haven’t practiced any poses this week, the process of thinking about them is another step towards “me doing me” as well as I can.